South Africa vs India: Sunil Gavaskar wants KL Rahul to keep wickets in order to fit in Rahane

"It might make sense for India to go in with Rahane and have Rahul keep wickets," quoted Gavaskar.

Sunil Gavaskar |
Former Indian cricketer and commentator Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has some unique suggestions for team India ahead of the final Test against South Africa. The result of the match would be inconsequential in the context of the game. This would be largely due to the fact that India have already lost the first two Tests of the 3-match series. Going in to the final game, the visitors have nothing but pride to play for.

A lot of talks have been going around about the Indian team combinations for the match. Sunil Gavaskar, in his column for TOI, has pitched in his combination as well. Gavaskar feels that the five bowler theory has not been working in South Africa.


Hence, the team should play as extra batsman in Ajinkya Rahane. And, in order to accommodate Rahane in the side, the team can ask KL Rahul to don the wicketkeeping gloves. India have called up Dinesh Karthik in to the squad. But Gavaskar pointed out that Karthik has not been keeping wickets for his domestic side regularly in the recent times.

Clearly, going into an overseas Test series with just five batsmen has not worked. Since South Africa are thinking in terms of going in with an all-pace attack, it might make sense for India to go in with Rahane and have Rahul keep wickets,” quoted Sunil Gavaskar.

“It is a big risk but then Dinesh Karthik has not kept wickets for Tamil Nadu in every game last season. India may look to leave out Ashwin and bring in another new-ball bowler, with Pandya being the fifth bowler,” he added further.

On the bouncy track and India’s batting

Commenting on the plight of the Wanderers pitch, Sunil Gavaskar noted that the pitches have not been easy ones for the batsmen throughout the course of the series. He cited that even players of the calibre of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli largely struggled to get their timings right.

And now, the Wanderers is expected to be the best for the bowlers. Moreover, the crowds are expected to get very vocal too during the course of the game. Hence, things will not be easy for India. Gavaskar remarked that it is not known as the bullring without a reason. He feels that the Indian batsmen will have to stand up to the occasion and perform. Barring skipper Virat Kohli, no other player has shown grits with the bat.

“The pitches have not always been good for batting, with the one in Cape Town being one where even batsmen like Kohli and de Villiers never knew which ball would have their number on it. Even in Centurion, the pitch on the last two days was an up-and-down one, so chasing 250 was not going to be easy as it turned out,” noted Gavaskar.

“So what now for the final Test? It is not called the ‘Bullring’ without a reason, for this is supposed to be the fastest and bounciest pitch in South Africa. The crowd can be brutally vocal against the visiting team. It is India’s batting which has not come to the party, apart from that magnificent century from skipper Kohli, so that needs strengthening,” he noted further.

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